--Recent economic and social trends support the opportunities that sustainable communities offer more than ever.

Traditionally, sustainable communities have been the business of many European cultures; and more recently, popular among a certain population of the west coast.  However, there is a growing demographic in the United States that could greatly benefit from the unique opportunities offered by sustainable communities. 

The 'Baby Boomer' generation is coming of the age of retirement, and many are finding it difficult to retire when they thought they could.  This is due to many reasons pertaining to reductions in social security available, and the suffering stock market in this recession.  But maybe most detrimental to many Baby Boomers' retirement plans is the suffering real estate market.  In many parts of the nation sale prices of homes are at an all-time low when inflation is considered.  People of age to retire are forced to sell their homes well below what their value 8 years ago. And it is for these reasons that an alternative retirement lifestyle must be considered. 

An alternative retirement lifestyle is not a compromise on quality, but only means that smart and innovative decisions must be made in order to achieve a desired retirement.  Sustainable senior living communities consider the social and economic advantages of using high performance building techniques, aspects of cohousing, and renewable energy sources. 

A combination of high performance or superinsulated building techniques creates a sound foundation for any sustainable
building or development.  And while off grid utilities are ideal, they are often unpractical, especially when trying to offer active seniors a certain luxuries in life.  However, the combination of lowered energy loads by use of superior building construction, and the introduction of an alternative energy source can become very economical; offering the communities' inhabitants a lifetime of low cost energy that is less susceptible to rising energy costs. 

The idea of shared spaces and commodities is strong principal adopted from cohousing that is used by innovative sustainable communities.  In many cases, active seniors will be downsizing from larger family-sized homes to smaller cottages or residential units in sustainable communities.  This involves the difficult task of getting rid of many assets you own and love.  Fortunately, sustainable communities provide the economic advantage and convenience of allowing you to possess all these same amenities without the cost or burden of moving and storing them.  Examples of shared spaces and commodities would be a wood shop or sewing room, possibly a shed to store tools and equipment for the community gardens, and common areas to enjoy the sense of community and family.

When economy of scale is considered in all of these amenities, one can start to see the advantages of sustainable communities for active senior living.  Developers can offer low cost housing with the freedom to have all of the things you used to and a priceless like-minded community of people to share your time with.